“The Iran deal and our allies: You can’t spell abandonment without OBAMA.” – Ari Fleischer
OH, THOSE once upon a time water’s edge Republicans, trying to stir up trouble for President Obama during a time of historic thawing between the U.S. and Iran. A development that holds a smidgen of promise that the region could move out of the 20th century and into a new era. Everyone has forgotten just how important Iran was to the U.S. in Afghanistan. It’s not like some of Israel’s proven very best friends, those steeped in the arts of smart power diplomacy, aren’t in favor of shifting the relationship into another phase, just as President Obama has worked all of 2013 to do.
Hillary Clinton telegraphed what’s recently developed on Iran when she was running the State Department, and no one can accuse Hillary of ever abandoning Israel. In fact, as David Frum writes today in “Hillary’s Iran Trap,” the Iran thaw foreshadows a shift in anti-Clinton campaigning from Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi to Iran, Iran, Iran.
The full context of HRC’s interview in December 2010 with the BBC reveals there is no daylight between Hillary and Obama, putting her expressly on the side of progressive diplomacy.
QUESTION: A follow-up question about Iran. On Monday in Geneva, Washington and its partners in the P-5+1 will hold talks with Iran about its nuclear program. You’ve tried this before. You thought it would work last time. Why do you think it will be different now?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Because I think that Iran has realized since the last meeting, which was in October 2009, that they’re not going to escape pressure from the international community. They were quite surprised to have the entire world decide to impose sanctions. They didn’t think that would happen to them. They’ve been surprised that the United States, European Union, Japan, and others have imposed additional sanctions, and that the vast majority of the nations in the world are honoring those sanctions. We know that they’re having an effect inside Iran. So I think Iran comes to the table with a much more sober assessment of what isolation means, what the impact on their economy has been, and we hope that will cause them to have the kind of serious negotiation we’re seeking.
QUESTION: But a quick follow-up, if I may. Why not cut to the chase and tell Iran that it can enrich its own uranium on its own territory, since everybody knows that this what is probably the end result.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we told them that they are entitled to the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy. But they haven’t yet restored the confidence of the international community, to the extent where the international community would feel comfortable allowing them to enrich, which is why with the Bushehr plant that Russia has helped build, Russia is not letting them enrich. Russia is taking the spent fuel out and reprocessing. Iran has to come to the table recognizing that they have lost the confidence of even longtime supporters and allies or those who believed them, took them at face value. They can do this, and then they can enrich uranium at some future date once they have demonstrated that they can do so in a responsible manner in accordance with international obligations.
Some may contend that Clinton should expressly state she’s behind Obama on the latest developments with Iran. It’s just as likely if she did she’d be accused of horning in on what’s clearly President Obama’s historic moment to make, led by Hillary’s successor Secretary John Kerry. Obama to focus on the Iran nuke deal in his 2014 State of the Union, as Mike Allen reports today.
HRC doesn’t need to make any statements on Iran, because she’s already on the record, though that doesn’t preclude her from responding that diplomacy with Iran beats the status quo.
The U.S. talking to Iran makes Israel safer, even if the Arab leaders and PM Netanyahu can’t see the diplomatic forest for the trees.
Regardless of Republicans salivating, thinking they have a new foreign policy talking point to use against Clinton. In the hopes of making their potential Republican nominee come closer to measuring up to a woman who has the best resume on foreign policy of any potential 2016 candidate.